Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 05/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 8 CD collection of Stravinsky's Ballets, Stage Works and Orchestral Works is nothing short of magical. Conducted in its entirety by Ernest Ansermet leading the orchestra he founded, L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, this box set, while not complete, features all the great Stravinsky compositions -- "Firebird," "Rite of Spring," "Petrouchka," "Pulcinella," and all the Symphonies among others. Unlike most of history's great composers, Stravinsky himself was able to conduct and record his own music in stereo, so why not just get those discs? Well you should, but the Ansermet recordings generally offer superior sound and clarity. In fact, Ansermet was Stravinsky's personal choice to conduct the world premieres of many of his recordings, and Ansermet was selected by the composer to introduce the three famous ballets to U.S. audiences. A mathematician prior to his life as a conductor, Ansermet had his critics as he was virtually self-taught, though he did study music as a youth. But that mathematics background served him well in the studio as his early stereo recordings of everything from Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev to Falla and Chausson are engineered to perfection, and often sound better than the recordings by so-called more famous conductors. But don't take my word for it, buy some Ansermet for yourself and see. If you are not prepared to get this Stravinsky Box right away, then ease in with the new Ernest Ansermet "Great Conductors of the Century" compilation (see my review). You won't be disappointed."
"Ernest Ansermet' s refined style was always supported by an admirable incisiveness around all what he conducted. And his Stravinsky still stands as one of the most perfect, idiomatic and extraordinary readings ever made; hovered with that deep vision and knower of the Stravinsky' s aesthetic; Ansermet always to blend power, febrile imagination and musculature, among his best achievements I should remark his Fairy' s kiss, The game of cards, Petrouchka, and the thundering Le Sacre are played with the right balance between abstraction and finesse; expression and sumptuous lyricism.
So you should not hesitate just for a second at the moment to decide to go for this special compilation.
Absolutely recommended. "
Hours and hours of fun!
Steven Antler | 01/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Renard alone makes this set worthwhile. No other recorded performance (including Stravinsky's own) brings out the humor and basic "enjoyability" of this piece."
Very good, as far as it goes.
Hiram Gomez Pardo | 03/10/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As far as it goes, this is a wonderful box set, containing most of Stravinsky's major works in excellent performances and sound. Although Stravinsky and Ansermet had a falling out over the interpretation of some works, Ansermet was a superb interpreter of the Russian composer's music, especially the ballets. Ansermet never recorded the opera, "The Rake's Progress," so of course that's not represented. However, I'm very disappointed that his old Decca recording of the oratorio "Oedipus Rex" with Ernest Haefliger, Helene Bouvier, and (I think) Heinz Rehfuss is not here. It certainly falls within the realm of "stage works," so it should have been included."